New Models Emerge for Community Press
This essay provides an inventory of several emerging initiatives that focus on alternative production methods and business models for the news media. The analysis also considers how these models might be implemented at community newspapers.
A number of alternative models of the press—recent experiments, longstanding ventures and ideas yet to move beyond the blueprint phase—hold clues for what community newspapers and journalism in general, may look like in the future. While there is consensus that the economic downturn of the early 21st century has converged with fundamental technological, cultural and ideological changes that are transforming the news media, few agree on what should be done—or even can be done—about it.
One conclusion is incontrovertible: To support new forms of reporting and new methods of distribution, newspapers must think outside of the current media system. The problems of today cannot be fixed by simply subsidizing or propping up old business models; new structural models of the press are needed.